Wednesday, February 01, 2012


In the last year and a half that I have worked at First Reformed Church I have worked with lots of "challenges".  I've shown up to work with mono, on crutches because of tweaked knees or ankles, with ear infections, with my central auditory processing disorder flared so bad I could hardly understand what was going on around me, and so on.  But today was different. I showed up to work in a wheelchair.
Due to a unfortunate incident involving multiple pairs of ice skates, a bunch of friends and a small child I have badly sprained knee.  Doctor says I am supposed to stay completely off of it at least through the weekend, along with icing, elevating, etc.  And since I always listen to my doctor I'm in a wheelchair.
To be honest, I was a little nervous. I wasn't nervous about staff meeting or homework time or anything like that.  I wasn't even really nervous about the community dinner.  I was nervous about teaching my class of 4 and 5 year olds. How would they react to me in a wheelchair?  Would I be able to lead the class well from a wheelchair?  Would I have three kids or nine kids?
My fears were unfounded.  The kids hardly seemed to notice.  The only time any of them said anything was when we were singing "Stand up, Sit down" and one of them suggested I raise my good leg instead of trying to stand up when we got there.  By the time we were done class, I was playing "tickle monster" with all of them just fine.  Class from a wheelchair had gone just fine.  The biggest problem I'd actually had all day at work was trying to get into the ladies' room.  Once I was in I was fine, it was just the getting in part that didn't work out so great.
What struck me most about the whole experience was that my kiddos were so accepting.  There was no questioning, not fear, just acceptance.  Miss Joy was simply in a wheelchair and that was that.  One child came up behind me and started pushing me and we had a little talk about wheelchair etiquette, but other than that, things were good.  And that made me happy. I wish more people could be like that.  So accepting, so innocent.

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